This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Back when the Future Foundation rode off into the sunset at the end of Secret Wars, ready to recreate and explore the multiverse, many fans (myself included) saw it as the perfect farewell to the characters. This leaves Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli with the unenviable task of bringing this “ending” to an end, of justifying more adventures for characters who had already received their happily ever after. Interestingly, Slott and Pichelli do so by demonizing the very idea of “endings,” by making “the end” the very villain that brings the Fantastic Four back together. Continue reading →
Today, Mark and Drew are discussing Secret Wars 2, originally released May 13th, 2015.
Mark: This summer finds both DC and Marvel presenting readers with big crossover events where their heroes fight for survival, but the approaches couldn’t be more different. For all of the problems DC’s Convergence has (and the list is not brief), one advantage is that DC has a long, storied history of multiverses, continuities, and characters to choose from. It does my nerd heart good to see characters like pre-Flashpoint Superman once again, characters to which I have a lot of attachment. Maybe it’s a cheap thrill, but there’s something to seeing these heroes from different times and universes coming together. Marvel does not have the luxury of history. They’ve always employed a rolling continuity that keeps their characters’ histories current without having to do a hard reboot like the New 52. Outside of Earth-616, the Ultimate universe has been a depressing mess for such a long time that Miles Morales was the only reason to keep it limping along at all. So in order for Marvel to create an interesting clash of heroes, they had to basically build one from the ground up.
Enter Battleworld. I admit to having Jonathan Hickman fatigue after his sometimes messy, always talky Avengers/New Avengers run, and I honestly found Secret Wars 1 to be rather boring, but I appreciated the mash up of sci-fi and fantasy tropes with the Marvel Universe found in Secret Wars 2.Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Avengers 40, originally released January 14th, 2015.
The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Drew: I think it would be fair to say that Dostoevsky’s polyphonic style — one built upon the perspectives of an array of characters — is antithetical to the notion of the hero’s journey. Indeed, Dostoyevsky’s philosophies (as articulated in the quote above) suggest that there’s an active tension between caring about an individual and caring about humanity at large. I’ve always been partial to the depth of understanding achieved by sticking with one protagonist — especially when it comes to comics — which has made me wary of the kind of expansive, Dostoyevskian scope of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers. In my mind, a tight focus on a single character more accurately reflects how we experience the world, but with Avengers 40, Hickman makes a compelling case for how his dense interconnectednessreflects how the world actually is. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Fantastic Four 6, originally released April 10th, 2013.
Drew: “Take only pictures, leave only footprints” has long been the rule of thumb for eco-tourists — or really anybody visiting nature. The point is simple: don’t change things (and indeed, many ecologists now advocate for “leave no trace” practices, which argue that even footprints are too disruptive). This idea is quite common in sci-fi as well — the Star Trek had the prime directive, and Ray Bradbury’s time traveler had the butterfly effect — which exaggerates the danger of changing things to potentially harming history itself. You’d think, then, that a group as smart as the Fantastic Four would be especially careful when encountering alien cultures while time traveling, but issue 6 proves yet again that they can’t really be bothered with such concerns, willing to alter things at the very dawn of time itself. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Patrick are discussing Superior Spider-Man 6AU, originally released March 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Ethan: Familiarity is a funny thing. The exposure we have to a thing or activity, the more hard-wiring space our brains devote to it. That’s great when you need to do something quickly — like recognize and react to a baseball flying at your head — or when you do something the same way over and over — like driving a route to work every day. That hard-wiring can save you from injury, or save on processing power that could be put to other use. Automatic responses aren’t always helpful though; sometimes your conditioning assigns a label and to situation too quickly and funnels you into a course of action that almost always works, but not this time. In the Age of Ultron crossover Superior Spider-Man #6, writer Christos Gage and artist Dexter Soy demonstrate the folly of this kind of snap judgement as Otto Octavius (in the body of Spider-Man Peter Parker) faces off against the malicious artificial intelligence. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Jack are discussing Fantastic Four 5AU, originally released March 27th, 2013. This issue is part of the Age of Ultron crossover event. Click here for complete AU coverage.
Patrick: How do you say goodbye? I believe that we don’t have a choice in matter — our goodbyes tend to come out in ways that most honestly get to the heart of our relationship with the person we’re saying goodbye to. There’s always a sense of obligation, like you’re trying to impart one lasting image of yourself in the person’s brain. Something to remember you by. While the rest of the Age of Ultron event seems interested in telling the stories of heroes pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, Fantastic Four lingers on goodbyes, and finds some touching honesty in the process. Continue reading →
Today, Mikyzptlk and Jack are discussing Fantastic Four 5, originally released March 13th, 2013.
Mikyzptlk: Ah families, they come is all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common. At the end of the day, they’ll always have your back. The Fantastic Four have always been Marvel’s First Family. Series writer, Matt Fraction, makes sure to keep that in mind as we go into issue 5. But how exactly does a family of space faring superheroes interact with one another and work out their problems? As it turns out, the same way that everyone else does.